Domestic violence comes in many forms, and none of them are ever okay. Learn how to protect yourself from domestic violence having a safety plan and knowing the best resources to turn to for help. Here’s The Berman Law Group’s guide on how to protect yourself from domestic violence.
Protecting Yourself From Domestic Violence
Domestic violence takes on many forms — one is a confrontation between household members involving physical or emotional harm, sexual assault, or fear. There is no “typical” victim, and domestic violence does not always manifest as physical abuse.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
Have a Safety Plan
“They say they will stop.” “I think they’ll change.” “Maybe it’s me.” These are just a few things you might be telling yourself. While you may or may not be ready to leave an abusive relationship, it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself safe. To ensure your welfare, you should be alert, prepared and educated. Your safety plan should include the following:
- Know the signs that your abuser is getting upset.
- Identify safe areas of your home—avoiding small spaces, rooms with weapons, and rooms without exits.
- Create several believable reasons to leave your home to avoid abuse (including day and night).
- Create a code word to let loved ones know you’re in danger.
- Make and memorize a list of emergency contacts.
- Keep gas in your car, the driver’s side unlocked, and hide the spare key somewhere you can quickly access it.
- Build a support system including your family, friends and colleagues.
- Remember to call collect, or to use a prepaid phone so numbers can’t be traced.
- Use a computer outside of your home, and change passwords frequently.
If Possible, Get Proof of Abuse
Your (and your children’s) safety comes first. Don’t stay in a dangerous situation to “gather evidence.” But, it should be mentioned that if you plan to ask for a divorce or full custody of your kids, you’re going to have to go to court and produce enough relevant proof of abuse at the hands of your partner.
Take pictures or record physical abuse if you can, save abusive messages and/or emails, talk to your doctor and call the authorities when you suffer abuse. Furthermore, make sure to gather copies of all your important documents and keep them somewhere safe. You don’t want your personal records and information ending up in their possession, especially once you’ve left.
Things For Domestic Violence Victims To Keep In Mind
Dealing with domestic abuse can take a toll on you emotionally, as well as physically. To help you cope, here are some important things to remember:
- You are not to blame.
- You deserve to be treated with respect.
- You deserve to feel safe.
- You deserve to live a happy life.
- You are not alone.
- Your abuser will not change unless he or she takes full responsibility and seeks help.
- Do not believe your abuser when he or she promises to stop.
- Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you in a dangerous situation.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence and are seeking a divorce and or restraining order, seek help immediately. You deserve to live a happy life where you feel safe in your surroundings, especially at home. Contact The Berman Law Group’s Florida family law attorneys at (800) 375-5555 for a free consultation.